Tulum, Mexico: The Guide for a Hip & Happening Beach Holiday5 June 2014
What a great lazy but fun beach destination is Tulum, Mexico!
Mexico was one of the biggest surprises when it comes to a vacation. We absolutely loved it! With its gorgeous ancient temples, amazing food (corn, anyone?) and friendly people it’s definitely a country I recommend visiting. Stay away from the areas like Cancun and Playa del Carmen if you’re not a party animal (gringo alert!). Tulum on the other hand is like paradise to all you fashionable muchachos. And has some cool parties too and hipness all over.
So pack that sombrero and that smokin’ hot bikini, and get ready for some tropical chic beach days.
The Caribbean weather can be unpredictable, so you might want to bring an extra sweater.
Where to sleep at the beach area of Tulum
There are many places to stay here in Tulum. Especially many expensive places. If you don’t have any budget at all check if the camping along the coast still has a tent for you to rent.
If you want something with just a little bit more luxury these 2 places we stayed at are wonderful.
(1) Papaya Playa: Fantastic beach bungalows. They have their own amazing restaurant with sea view and cool parties (read the blog on Papaya Playa here).
(2) Coco Tulum: Now this is what you call camping-chic. Normally I’m not really into camping (and that’s an understatement), but at a place like this even I can be a happy camper! All the bungalows are located on the beach and have their own small terrace, but no bathroom or toilet. That’s where the shared bathroom area comes in. But believe me, if this is good enough for me… Probably cleaner than most bathrooms out there. Inside your petite beach getaway it smells like paradise and looks more like a designed elegant crispy white hotel room. Beautiful. Glamping hell yeah.
Any cool stuff to do in Tulum?
Except for working on that tan and eating and drinking all day here are some other suggestions.
Once a week or so there’s the (1) hippie market at the hippie village. Go there for healthy and cheap home made snacks and nice accessories. Rent a bike and drive until the end of the main road. There you can have a swim and have a small picnic with the food you bought at the hippie “grocery store”.
Take the collectivo or a taxi from Tulum Pueblo to for example Akumal where you can snorkel and dive with turtles.
Try out one of many yoga classes at several yoga spots.
Don’t go and visit the Maya ruin in Tulum, thinking you’ll be struck by its beauty and magical sight. Honestly? Leave that to the busloads of tourists.
A small piece of paradise inside a cave. Many hotels offer tours to a cenote.
Fashionable beach walks
In need for a cute bikini or sandals? Tulum at the beach also has a couple of small shops where I’m sure you’ll be able to get yourself those.
In a huge container (1) La Troupe sells her clothing and accessories.
Go to (2) Mr. Blackbird for amazing rings. Across restaurant Hartwood you’ll find this cool small shop. I spotted the most stylish black Mexican skulls there. Came back to buy the sandals I absolutely needed, when I notice that the shop is closed… Damn you 6-day workweek!
(3) Plastic Flamingo Art Shop sells some very unique home goods. The Frida Khalo goodies (kind of a must-souvenir) would look good in any home.
Where to eat
In the small street Centauro Sur, a couple of nice small eateries are located.
Try (1) Batey. Fun and friendly atmosphere.
At Avenida de Tulum (the main street) go to (2) el Camello for a great ceviche. Order a small portion, you’ll have enough. Trust me.
(3) El Vegetariano almost at the end of the main street looks cute. And from what I’ve heard the food must be good as well.
Tulum at the beach:
With numerous hotspots it’s very difficult to choose. Don’t forget to bring a flash light in the evenings because you will not see anything (and the little crabs are everywhere!!!)!
We liked the intimate bar and restaurant (1) Casa Jaguar the most. Great for all you lovebirds out there. To us this one has the Mex-factor. Have a look at the blog on Casa Jaguar here.
(2) Posada Margherita is perfect for breakfast and lunch. And great for hanging out all day on soft beach beds. More in this post on Posada Margherita.
(3) Hartwood is a stylish and busy restaurant. Be prepared to wait a while or make a reservation through the website. Unfortunately we were too late so we had to walk to another place.
The ‘other place’ we ended up was (4) Casa Banana. The food was great. Cash only. There’s a cash machine in front of the restaurant.
(5) Mateo’s: People say they serve the best cappuccinos in Tulum. Quite annoying that I only now noticed that they have an amazing rooftop terrace… :-(
Where to drink in downtown Tulum
Downtown Tulum center is small, but there are still a couple of fun places to go.
The spot we like the most here is Todos Santos. It has only been open a couple of months and is definitely the best decorated bar in the center. This hipster-friendly bar is from the same owners as Casa Jaguar. In this intimate and stylish place your typical Maya-hippie would feel right at home sipping his coco ‘n passion fruit juice. With a shot of their great mezcal of course… Claro.
Tip: bring enough cash or get enough for the evening. It happened more than once that all the cash machines were down.
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